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Eindhoven: Joe Cattini receives hero’s welcome for a second time, 70 years on

September 23rd, 2014

The organisers of the trip said the people of Eindhoven wanted to thank the Allied soldiers for their freedom.

The veterans, who arrived back in the UK on Tuesday, spent two weeks in Holland as “guests of honour”. They toured museums, met serving soldiers and revisited some of the places they had stayed.

Also on the trip was Denys Hunter, with whom he was reunited during the D-Day celebrations.

Mr Cattini and Mr Hunter became the faces of this year’s D-Day anniversary commemorations when they were picture moments after being reunited for the first time since they took part in the landings on the Normandy beaches 70 years ago.

In Eindhoven, they were also invited on to the pitch ahead of football match between PSV Eindhoven and SC Cambuur, where three paratroopers jumped from 1,500 feet holding football shirts which were then presented to the veterans.

Mr Cattini and Mr Hunter were both part of the 86th Hertfordshire Yeomanry Field Regiment RA, which was part of the British advance through Europe and which helped free Eindhoven from Nazi occupation.


Joe Cattini and Denys Hunter spent two weeks in Holland as ‘guests of honour’

The city was liberated when an American paratrooper from the 101st Airborne division advancing from the north made contact with British ground troops, advancing from the south, at a church.

The American paratroopers had been dropped at Son, a village north of Eindhoven, on September 17 and advanced to Eindhoven the next day. Their job was to secure the four bridges over the River Dommel ready for the British ground forces to advance.

The British troops, who had entered the Netherlands from the south, liberated the town of Valkenswaar on September 17. They spent their night there before continuing on to Eindhoven the next day, where they were welcomed as heroes.

One American trooper recalled being asked for his autograph by a woman, so relieved occupation was over.

Mr Cattini said he remembered driving into Eindhoven and six young women jumping in the back of his truck.

It was the first major city in Holland to be liberated by troops on the way to Arnham as part of the doomed Operation Market Garden.

However Eindhoven’s jubilation was short lived. The following day, on September 19, while the city was still celebrating, German Luftwaffe planes appeared above overhead and launched a bombing campaign. In total, 227 civilians were killed.

But Eindhoven has commemorated the liberation each year on September 18 since 1945.

This year, a “liberation torch” was carried by cyclists and runners from Bayeux in Normandy, along the same route the Allies used in 1944, culminating in a torch lit procession to the Town Hall Square where the veterans and guests were received.


World War Two

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